In show 4 Kaho To added drama to proceedings, with his models showing off his refined womenswear while walking as if afraid of each other and unseen things. KLEKKO showed the value of being able to pull off a single design well, with all their layered, austere menswear available in any colour you want so long as it’s black. The idea of long, flowing capes and gowns and their attendant silhouette refuses to budge, but this celebration of almost sombre Vicar-chic still leaves an impression when treated as sensitively as it was here. Also of note was Hermione Flynn’s collection, where boys and girls walked in pairs in alternating blacks, greys, whites and creams, looking for all the world like modern monochrome couples. Like KLEKKO, Flynn knows what she’s good at and doesn’t stray, which depending on your view is a weakness or a strength. Her collection closed this show to great effect, as did the elaborate, piece by piece dressing of transgender model Gia Bab in the centre of the catwalk capture the gender theme nicely.
Show 5 saw HANA FRISONSOVA x Věra Vtípilová have fun with headwear, before Patrick de Padua ratcheted up the male urban aesthetic with an overdose of balaclavas. Then to Phyllis Berlin, whose designer Lina Phyllis Falkner was confident enough to show just six pieces of womenswear, all of which hit the mark and, her first design especially, a silk-printed tube dress, looked right at home on the comfortable model. For BOLA, prints, detail and contrasting panels and shapes are everything, as is an infectious personality and a sharp eye for dressing a man tastefully, which comes as a surprise given the busy nature of most of her designs. DASH’s editor-in-chief NoéMie Schwaller consulted her on reducing 28 looks to 14, which made the show dense and strong. Given Flora Miranda’s shredding of her clothing and clever use of just two colours suggesting technology gone awry by enveloping the models in their chaos, I could think of only the Cenobites, those sensuous voyagers from the further regions of experience from the film Hellraiser, taking a detour and getting trapped in The Matrix. Whether such an aesthetic will trickle down to the high-street remains to be seen. After that vision I needed a stiff drink, which was fortunate as it was party time.
The relaxed final day began with ‘Tabula Rasa’, a performance by Project Sally Maastricht, Fashionclash and Mieke Kockelkorn. A lengthy but never less than interesting routine, choreographed by Martin Harriague and danced by Morgane Michel and Patrizio Bucci, the show clearly referenced the similarities which exist between genders, rather than focusing on the elements which we have long known inevitably and biologically separate them. Underneath all the science we’re much the same. Show 6 was the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design graduation show, whose reception with the crowd made it clear this had been a long awaited and well supported highlight. The Fashionclash Festival 2015 closed in characteristic good humour with the award ceremony. By any measure, this had been a successful and occasionally memorable edition, and Maastricht is a better than nice place to spend some time. No matter your gender, some days disappear easier than others. Particularly those that don’t involve any washing.